Yi Gang, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China and former director of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, is set to head the Chinese central bank according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
The choice of Yi Gang may come as a surprise to many old China hands and PBOC-watchers, with banking regulator chief Guo Shuqing previously considered the favourite to head the Chinese central bank following the retirement of Zhou Xiaochuan.
59 year-old Yi Gang (易纲) is a native of Beijing who studied at Beijing University and Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota, before obtaining a PhD in economics at the University of Illinois.
Yi enjoyed a career as an academic prior to joining government, becoming an Associated Professor with tenure at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IPUI) before becoming a member of faculty at Beijing University as professor and vice head of the Center for Economics Research.
He joined the People’s Bank of China in 1997, serving as Deputy Secretary General and Secretary-General of the Monetary Policy Committee, and Deputy Director-General and Director-General of the Monetary Policy Department.
Yi held the position of President of the Operations Office of PBOC from September 2006 to October 2007, before being appointed as Deputy Governor in 2007.
He served as director of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange from 2009 until January 12 2016.
David Malpass, US Treasury undersecretary for international affairs, praised Yi’s knowledge and ability, telling Bloomberg Television Sunday that Yi is a “very strong technical leader with lots of skills.”